After the End

This article is from 2011

After the End

Gripping if uneven thriller adaptation

The action of Dennis Kelly’s thriller takes place in a nuclear shelter in the aftermath of an explosion, but the play’s politics, we discover, are of the personal rather than global kind. The two-hander opens immediately following the atrocity. Louise (Helen Darbyshire) is initially grateful to Mark (Tony McKeever) for having rescued her, but seems suspicious. The two colleagues have never been friends as such: after all, Louise is popular and attractive while Mark is nice enough but, well, a bit on the intense side.

Gradually the fragile trust that has built up between them breaks down as Mark’s insecurities bubble over and his role shifts from protector to captor, rationing Louise’s food and chaining her up. While the sympathetic actor McKeever struggles to make Mark sinister as well as pathetic, Darbyshire really rings the changes as Louise’s situation gets more desperate. There’s something a little lopsided in the tone of the production, from Dundee Rep, however. Not enough is made of the absurdity of the situation, with the result that some of the humour and social comment in the script gets lost. In reliving the quotidian humiliations Mark suffered in the workplace, Kelly paints a brutal portrait of petty office hierarchies and urban isolation. The piece is frequently gripping, though, director Emma Faulkner carefully building the tension of the power game being played out in the shelter.

Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 28 Aug, 1.50pm, £9–£10 (£8–£9).

After the End

Louise wakes up to find herself trapped with Mark who has saved her. Having survived the explosion, they must wait until it’s safe to go outside. Can they survive the attack and each other? First produced at the Bush Theatre in 2005, Dennis Kelly’s award-winning psychological thriller appears at the Fringe fresh from its…

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